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tv   Piers Morgan Tonight  CNN  January 16, 2013 9:00pm-10:00pm PST

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science and evidence based drug and alcohol treatment center. where your addiction stops and your new life begins. call now. tonight, call to arms on guns. >> americans of every background stand up and say enough. we have suffered too much pain and care too much about our children to allow this to continue, then change will come. >> a bunch of people on both sides of the gun debate and gun advocates who think i'm just plain wrong on the right to bear arms. also al roker stays up late, last time he schooled me on american weather. >> it's hurricane. >> not in my country. >> well, we're not in your country now. >> i wasn't employed to be an american. >> expecting a stormy time tonight. this is "piers morgan tonight." this is "piers morgan tonight." >> good evening. the latest breaking news on the
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american hostage situation overseas later. we begin with the most important issue facing this country right now, the issue that president obama made his agenda today. a little over one month since the brutal shooting at sandy hook. the president changed the rules on begins with a stroke of his pen. signing 23 executive actions he says will strengthen background checks and expand safety programs in schools. the president is also calling for action in increasingly gridlocked congress. >> the most important changes we can make depend on congressional action. ask your member of congress if they support universal background checks to keep guns out of the wrong hands. ask them if they support renewing a ban on military-style assault weapons and high capacity magazines. ask them what is more important, doing whatever it takes to get an "a" grade from the gun lobby that funds their campaigns, or giving parents some peace of mind when they drop their child off for first grade? >> joining me now is richard blumenthal of connecticut. he wants to target ammunition
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sales and require background checks on anyone who buys bullets. senator, your reaction as the senator for connecticut to president obama's very bold and ambitious plans today for new gun legislation. >> it is a sweeping set of proposals. and what is so encouraging about it is it relies on executive action. that is what the president can do on his own, as well as congressional action. the president's proposing, for example, preference for hiring new police with cops grants to work in schools. also strengthening that national database that is so important to criminal background checks. and i'm hopeful that congress will act to extend those background checks, not only to the firearms sales that now fit within the gun show loophole. about 40% of all firearm sales every year, but also to ammunition sales, which are really the black hole of gun violence prevention. there is a historic opportunity here for the congress to act on
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the president's proposals. and i'm very hopeful that we can act cooperatively. >> the nra's come out with a statement today in which they say a number of things. but they also say that only honest law abiding gunowners will be affected if we, quote, if anyone is attacking firearms and ignoring children. that's not the solution to the crisis we face. of course their position has always been this. clearly that is going to be a very tough battle for the president. and it will rely on many democrats who are in red states and who have felt the full force of the bullying nra stand up and be counted. are they going to do that? >> i think that the issue remains a very open one in the minds of many of my colleagues, because they are hearing from their constituents that we really need to do something about gun violence. in fact, i heard that said to me personally again and again and again in the days that i was in newtown after this horrific
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tragedy, the days and the weeks that i spent huge amounts of time there. people in newtown, people in connecticut and across the country are saying we have to do something about gun violence. and let's remember, one of the president's proposals actually deals with criminals who try to buy weapons and use straw purchasers as they're called, or in other words, people who falsely claim they're buying the gun for themselves when in fact it's for the criminal. and he wants stronger punishment for that kind of purchase by criminals. so it's not simply the lawful gun owners, responsible gun owners, hunters and recreational people, but the criminals who are off a target of these set of proposals. and the proposal i've made, which requires, for example, that ammunition purchases be subject to background checks means that we would have tougher enforcement of an existing prohibition. that is when people go into storage to buy ammunition if
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they are fugitives, felons, drug addicts, people under court orders for domestic violence or people who are dangerously mentally ill, they are already forbidden to buy ammunition. but a background check would prevent them from breaking that law. >> senator blumenthal, thank you very much for your time. i really appreciate you taking time out to talk to me. >> thank you. >> the nra wasted no time today coming out against the president's gun proposals. but my next guest says, and i quote, that does nothing but offend the reasonable people that make up the bulk of the country and the bulk of their own membership. mark glaze is director of mayors against illegal guns. he joins me now. mr. glaze, pretty predictable response from the nra, really. they never have countenanced any kind of gun control. they're not going to start now. where does that leave the president? >> well, the nra never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. i mean, the reality is that 74% of nra members think everybody should have to get a background check. they all take background checks and pass them. so should everybody else. it leaves the president with a significant advantage because he
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is sort of where the country. -- country is. everybody thinks that a lot of this stuff is what we think i still call no-brainers if that's not too bad a cliche. people ought to get serious penalties if they buy a gun they intend to pass on to a criminal. people ought to be able to pass a background check which takes about 90 seconds out of their lives. he is in the big middle of this country where 800 mayors are, where about 80% of the country is. and the nra is increasingly marginalizing itself. i can't quite figure out why. >> you see, my issue this, with the political part of this is i can understand certain republican congressmen and women who are in red states and who genuinely believe that actually these proposals are wrong. but there are a number of republicans i think who actually would be persuaded on some of these arguments, but who won't even think about going there because of fear of retribution from the nra. and as for the democrats who apparently are threatening to stand up to the president on this, i just don't believe them. i think they're only doing that for political expediency.
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>> well, and the weird thing about this is if you actually look closely at the nra's electoral strength, it's far less than they crack it up to be. i mean, we had a piece of research done by a guy named paul waltman, who is a researcher at the american spectator, on the think progress website where he analyzed the nra's endorsements, the nra's pac contributions and the nra's independent expenditures and found in fact you're pretty hard-pressed to find more than a handful of races where the nra's involvement made a difference. and they had a really bad year in november. they endorsed only seven senate candidates where they spent more than $100,000 in those races. six of those candidates lost. they spent more money i think on defeating barack obama because he was going to erase the second amendment from the constitution than they've ever spent to defeat anybody before, yet there he was today at the white house behind the podium talking about reasonable common sense gun laws. >> i thought the nra's advertisement lambasting the president for the security around his children was particularly offensive and a new low even by the leadership of
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that organization standards today. >> you know, we talked to nra members and we talked to gun dealers and we poll them. the truth is the average nra member has not been very happy with the performance that they've been seeing out of the nra's washington lobbyists lately. nra members are people who hunt, who want to defend themselves and who want to be left alone, like much of the country. the nra's washington leadership lives and breathes for an entirely different purpose these days. they're selling guns and they're raising money and they're trying to elect republicans to congress that is the bottom line. and when you go after people's kids, i think you start to annoy people like john mccain, who had been there back in the political races of his day and who understand that there are some things that are off limits, especially kids who i'm guessing would really during puberty not have secret service agents following them around to the prom. >> mark glaze, thank you very much for joining me. >> thanks for having me. turning to the other side of the gun debate, dana loesch and scottie hughes is news director for tea party news network. her young brother was a victim of gun violence.
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welcome to you both. scottie, what was your reaction today? what did you agree with him about? >> nothing. it was propaganda. from the second he opened his mouth, i thought the golden globes were done a couple of days ago. the second he opened his mouth, went over and high-fived the kids, exploited the kids. >> let me get this clear. you don't agree with universal background checks for gun sales? >> in french, back to the bill of rights. infringe on my rights. i think there is a certain thing to be said. but let's point this out here. >> hang on, hang on. how can it possibly infringe anybody's rights to have a background check for a potentially lethal firearm given that gunowners, the people -- sorry, gun store owners have to have them. what possible infringement of your rights is it, as a member of the american society if you want to buy a gun to have a background check? >> here is the deal. i'm a legal gunowner. i'm going to have it. i'm not going to object.
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you might find a stole an oreo cookie in my background in kindergarten. i got cleared. the criminals, though, are not going to do it. that's the key to this. if you think the criminals are going to say hallelujah and have a complete come to jesus meeting and go get a background check, that's completely false. >> but that is about people planning to break the law. that's down to law enforcement people to enforce the law. it's a different issue. >> well, the key is, though, once again, you're doing a federal mandate. >> you don't agree with this. >> i don't. >> i think you totally exploited the situation. >> never mind exploitation skills, would you cap ammunition magazine says to a ten-round limit? >> no. >> why? >> because it doesn't say so in the constitution. >> where does it say you can have a assault weapon that can fire a hundred bullets in a minute in your constitution? >> where does it say i cannot. >> well, where is the limit? >> well, there is not. it doesn't say it. >> there are more than 50 gun control limits already. >> i don't agree with those. >> you want a tank? >> you know what? when is the last time you saw a terrorist attack? >> do you want the right to have a tank? do you believe the second
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amendment gives you, scottie hughes the right to have a tank? >> honestly, i don't see bullet points in the constitution, sure. i don't want one. i think my mayor would be upset. >> dana loesch, do you feel scottie is right? do you feel you have a right to have a tank? >> that's an interesting question, piers. i want to explain something briefly. >> how can this be a sensible conversation? dane a you represent a lot of people who believe what you say and trust you. how can you possibly say -- >> i want to answer your question. >> -- you want the right to a tank? >> how can you say you -- >> i haven't even said anything yet. you've just presupposed what my answer is going to be. >> well, tell me you don't want the right to a tank. >> the interesting thing about the writing of our constitution is that, piers, our founding fathers were very specific on what was and what was not mentioned in terms of the second amendment. musket is not mentioned in the second amendment. firearms is what is mentioned. arms, period is what is mentioned in the second amendment. and there are two reasons why we were successful in the revolutionary war. number one, guerrilla tactics.
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number two, we had the same weapons capability as those against whom we were fighting. and i think that if you can't glean my answer from that, i think it's pretty definitive. >> your country, america, has 5,000 nuclear warheads. i'd say you're pretty covered on the threat of an overseas tyrannical regime. this question, though, scottie wants the right to have a tank. she says there are no limits in terms of the firearms that she can have. by your answer just now, the logical assumption from that is that you also believe there should be no limitation of firearms if a potential enemy has the same thing. so let me ask you again, dana. do you think you should have the right to have a tank under the second amendment? >> i think the constitution is clear and it says we have a right to bear arms under the definition of arms. we have the right to firearms. >> does that include a tank? >> if that is how arms is defined, i'm going to let you draw your conclusions on that. our founding fathers are clear. >> i've been following this carefully on your twitter feed. you've been espousing yourself -- >> so have you start stopped
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using the term assault rifle? >> dana, i'll come to that in a minute. but you have been espousing very strongly your interpretation of the second amendment. >> i've been quoting the second amendment. >> not a time to be shy. do you believe -- >> oh, i'm not. >> the second amendment, as scottie believes, the right to have a tank? >> i believe that the second amendment gives us all the right to bear arms. that's how i -- >> does that include a tank? >> if it falls under the definition of firearms. >> do you think it does? >> if it falls under the definition of firearms. >> do you think it does? >> if i say so, you're going to fire back and accuse me about my interpretation. >> you've been interpreting it all week. i've been reading your twitter feed. >> i've been quoting the constitution. what i think is more of interest is your use of the term assault rifle. >> does your personal -- dana, answer my question. >> i have twice. >> does your personal interpretation of the second amendment include your right to have a tank? >> my personal interpretation of the second amendment isn't a personal interpretation. it is what it is, and it states what it states. we have the right to own firearms. we have the right to bear arms.
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now all of that which falls under the definition of firearms, that is what is guaranteed to us. >> does that include a tank? if it falls under the definition of firearms. >> when is the last time you heard somebody want a tank and buy a tank? >> scottie, with respect, you already said you think it is. on it does. dana won't answer the question. >> i have answered the question. you just don't like my answer. >> well, my question, is your personal interpretation that you want -- [ laughter ] >> that's not funny. >> it's ludicrous. this question is ludicrous. >> piers, with all due respect, i find it so interesting that you're trying to nail down this definition when you can't even accurately talk about what is or is not an assault rifle. >> i'll come that. here is why it's such an important question. it's precisely the definition and interpretation of the second amendment that has got america into this horrific mess, as i see it in terms of -- >> we disagree on that. >> the right to bear arms and what arms are. >> we disagree on that. >> i know. but i have no problem with americans who defend themselves in their homes with a handgun or
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a pistol or shotgun. i have a major problem, as you know, with the more military-style assault weapons. now, you say the weapon used in aurora and the weapon used at sandy hook was not an assault weapon. i ask you what is an assault weapon, if it's not a weapon that can kill 20 children in a few seconds or unload 100 bullets in a movie theater in 90 seconds? what do you term that kind of weapon if it's not an assault weapon? the reason i put it to you is the last time there was a assault weapon ban, that particular weapon was included in the ban. and people got rounded by -- around it by modifying it. but it was included. so it's defined in 1994 as an assault weapon. >> actually, it also discussed the cosmetics that you could add on to such a weapon. first of all, let me address your initial question there is no such thing as an assault weapon such as there is no such thing as an assault unicorn. if it exists, i would love to capture it. you like to use the term
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military assault rifle. i'm not sure what constitutes to you military style. rchlt let me make it easier for you. >> go ahead help. >> my brother is a british army colonel. >> okay. >> and he says that from his -- >> so you're an expert? >> well, my brother is, yes. he has fought alongside american troops in afghanistan and iraq. >> okay. >> he says he has only belonged as does general mcchrystal and general colin powell on a military field because they perform in a military-style capability. when a young deranged man -- [ laughter ] >> why so funny? you're laughing in this conversation. these are fundamental -- i'm letting you answer. >> i know what the answer is. >> any rifle that can unload 90 bullets or 100 bullets in 90 seconds has to be an assault weapon. well, again when you use the
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term military assault rifle, you're confusing the terms. trying to conflate the terms, and you're giving the impression that adam lanza and these other individuals actually owned military standard rifles. an assault rifle, if you want to use this term for the sake of argument, you're talking about either a weapon or a firearm that is capable of select fire, which i'm sure you know what that means. >> i do, yeah. >> being that you're discussing it. or it's semiautomatic, automatic, or it's capable of select fire. >> i'm actually not, though. i'm not. >> let me tell you, as a firearm owner, as a member of the nra. >> dana. >> as someone who has shot fully automatic weapons and who owns semiautomatic weapons, let me tell you that a citizen cannot go out and purchase a fully automatic weapon. >> right. >> they are regulated to ban. so when you use this terminology, it is from this knowledge base that you were using to cast aspersions on to our second amendment rights. >> you don't dispute that the ar-15 was banned under the last assault weapons ban? excuse me, scottie, wait a minute. >> right. and columbine happened, and columbine happened after that. >> that wasn't the question, dana. do you dispute that it was banned? >> and columbine happened. >> dana, you're having trouble tonight answering any of my questions.
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>> no, i'm not. i'm answering all of your question, you not liking my answers does not cute me not -- doesn't constitute me not answering. >> you say the ar-15 assault weapon. why was it banned under the 1994 assault weapons ban? >> because people don't like scary-looking guns. do you realize you can get a pellet gun that looks like a military style gun? >> it's because joe biden was at the lead of it. joe biden was the one. >> let's take a break. we'll come back. i'll try some more questions. why don't we see if we can get some answers. see life in the best light.
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obama uses kids as human shields. the democrats use kids as human shields. he brings these kids supposedly who wrote letters to the white house after newtown, bring them up there to present a picture of support among the children. >> rush limbaugh today. scottie hughes, why shouldn't president obama bring these children to the white house to illustrate a point that he is making these proposals now in direct relation to the slaughter of children? >> why sit here and say to bring these children up on stage and give them high-fives and sit there and claims that the nra add exploits his own children? across the board, he is exploiting children.
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he sat there and is complaining double standard completely. he brought his children on every chance he could during the campaign. and now his white house is coming and saying the new nra ad is actually attacking his children? hands off my kids. the same thing he did today with those four. to your point, i'll be honest with you. people own tanks. people own cannons. people own jet fighters. when is the last time you heard a crime done by one of those people? >> okay, dana loesch, let's ask you that question which is about the magazine clips. do you think there is any reason why any civilian needs a magazine drums, as it is now, over ten-round limit or more? >> i think that there exist reasons exactly why we should have more than. i know new york bans seven. i can think of a story just a headline that just hit the papers today in new york. there was a man who was attacked by a gang of men with bats and tire irons. there were i believe more than seven of those individuals that attacked him. i can think of that. >> what is the point of that anecdote?
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>> and also, piers -- >> but dana, why do you tell that story? >> because it's to highlight if someone has a firearm and they're able to defend themselves. >> have you seen the video? have you seen the video? >> actually, i've seen screen shots of it. >> i've taken the trouble to -- hang on, hang on. i took the trouble to watch that whole video. >> yes, go ahead. >> an unfortunate man involved in a pizza argument at 5:00 a.m. in the street gets attacked by a group of people who were clutching a bar of some sort. >> a tire iron. >> but he's alive. he didn't get killed. he wasn't shot. is your solution to that fight in a street -- >> i made a suggestion. i didn't say it was a solution. >> if you suggestion that somebody pull a gun out and shot somebody. >> if you have to defend yourself against more than one attacker, then absolutely. piers, have you ever fired a weapon? >> that young man should have shot those people? >> i'm not saying that. i'm saying if someone has -- there are instances where there's more than one person
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coming at you. >> let me ask you this. if the founding fathers wanted this limited, they would have enumerated that. >> you don't believe in limitations. that's fine. so everyone can have a tank. why would anybody need an ar-15. >> have you ever fired one? >> i haven't. let me finish my question. >> i want to answer this. piers, this will help so much. let me answer. >> let me ask the question. >> okay, go ahead. >> why would anybody need an ar-15 that has a magazine with 100 bullets in it, as with the shooter at aurora? why would anybody need that? >> first and foremost, if you have never fired an ar-15, as a woman who also has self-defense, uses guns for self-defense and likes to know that i have that security they're a lot easier to fire than other rifles with the recoil. >> you think all women should be armed with ar-15s? >> my goodness, are you going to go off on a tangent every time i say one thing? you just go off and make up another -- come on now, pirs.
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stay with me. >> i'm trying to find out what you believe. >> i'm trying to explain it to you, but you keep putting words in my mouth every time try. so stop, let me finish and we'll get somewhere with this. an ar-15, honestly, it's just like any other rifle. i don't understand why some individuals can become so scared of this, because they think it's a scary looking weapon. it's not. this is not the military assault rifle that fully automatic or capable of select fire. >> it shot 17 americans in a movie theater in 90 seconds. it murdered a group of new york state firemen. >> there are pistols made by armalight. >> this particular weapon has been used in the last four mass shootings. still nobody can explain to me why any civilian needs that or one of these high-capacity magazin magazines. >> how are law abiding americans responsible for that, piers? how are law abiding citizens like me responsible for that? i follow the law. and i'll admit it. i own an ar-15. i follow the law.
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i went through my background check. i've taken the classes. >> james holmes was a law abiding -- dana, james holmes. he bought the ammunition and his guns legally. he went and shot 70 americans in a movie theater. when the nra says taking our guns, attacking our guns today -- wait. the nra said today attacking our guns will only hurt law abiding gunowners. >> i want to focus on something for a second, piers. i want to focus on that. >> let me finish, dana. >> he was on medication and he was seeing a psychiatrist. >> i don't dispute that. let me answer this. >> he was a gun owner, as was adam lansa's mother. no, here is the thing. his mother was a gunowner. >> but adam lanza's mother did not shoot people up, piers. you have to realize that. >> and piers, you need to realize too that this is where the people who are supposed to be el telling -- see, look. i'm going to use the case of jared loughner as an example. do you realize he could have been reported in terms of being
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mentally unfit, report nics. they would have determined he was mentally unfit. he would have been unable to purchase a firearm. but you have these laws in place. piers, what good are laws if no one wants to follow them. do you realize there are laws in states recording these people -- >> scottie said early she doesn't agree with a single thing that president obama said today. what is your view? is there anything there you agreed with? >> you know, i'm really -- because i think he was moved by what happened at newtown, which i think anybody would have been. >> was there anything you agreed with in the president's proposals? >> no. >> okay. >> and instead of having the four children, i would have liked to have the mother from georgia that sat there. >> the pair of you would like to have the right to have a tank. and you don't agree with a single one of president obama's proposals for gun control. and you know something, it makes me sick when i hear people say that.
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>> pirs, piers, when did i say that? pirs, piers, when did i sa that? ipirs, piers, when did i sy that? erpirs, piers, when did i say that? spirs, piers, when did say that? , piers, when did i sa that? the first thing the emts gave me.
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as you heard in my rather heated discussion moments ago, gun advocates are slamming the president's plan, saying it's all wrong, it's unconstitutional. nick kristof, i find it almost impossible to stay calm and rational when i'm confronted with an argument from two people there who are quite well-known in the conservative community in their own rights, neither of whom could see a single thing in the president's very lengthy proposals, 26, 27 proposals about what to do about gun violence. they couldn't find a single thing they agreed with. and they believed the right to bear arms includes the right to
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own a tank. >> i wondered if they think it includes the right to control small tactical nuclear weapons. >> there is no limit in their eyes. that's why the argument is important to have with them, to understand the mentality which is basically there are no limits. >> right. and i think it's very important to make the point, as i think you did that the question isn't do we draw lines. of course we draw lines, whether it's between a semiautomatic and an automatic or between tanks or nuclear weapons. the question isn't whether we regulate arms, it's where we draw that line. >> yeah. in terms of the president's proposals today, very detailed, i thought very bold. one of his -- to me, and i have an agenda on this, which i made very clear. but one of his best days as a president. i thought it was a day he became a real leader. but he does it knowing that trying to get half of this stuff through the senate, never mind the congress, is going to be almost impossible. >> yes. >> some people tell me how can
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he do it? >> well, he has this stuff. he chose because he doesn't have to send it through the senate or the house. a lot of things are -- we can -- he can authorize new research into weapons. one of the craziest things about this is we don't even really understand what the damage that guns cause. i saw today that there have been i think 57 studies by national institutes of health on diptheria. there have been three on guns, which are a leading cause of death in the u.s. there are some things he can do already. i think he's got a pretty good shot at getting universal background checks which would be the single thing to save the most number of lives here. it's very popular, even among nra numbers. the heavy lifting is going to be on the assault weapons ban. >> but should he just keep heavy lifting? is this one of the moments when the president of the united states has to look at the fact that 100,000 americans are hit by gunfire every year. but on the question of assault weapons, the last four mass shootings have all involved the very similar ar-15 style,
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military style rifle. and americans are getting slaughtered with these things. no one has given me a reason why a civilian needs them, let alone adding 100 bullet magazine. >> well, i mean i agree with you that there should be an assault weapons ban. but i do think in the 1990s, those who were in favor of gun control made a tactical mistake, that they put all their eggs in that basket in favor of an assault weapons ban that for a number of reasons didn't accomplish much. >> it had too many loopholes. >> it had a lot of loopholes. at the end of the day, we have 150 assault weapons murders each year. meanwhile, you have more than 11,000 with guns as a whole. if we just focus on assault weapons, then we've lost. >> i agree. i think the other measures he brought in very much in particular dealing with the handgun problem that criminals get handguns. >> with gun trafficking. >> i totally agree with all those things. but i just think if you're going to be doing this as a reaction to sandy hook, the least you owe the families of those poor children is to look at the
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weapon that was used and ask yourself a humane question. what role do these weapons play in a civilized society? there is no role. they are killing machines. >> yeah. >> they fire 90 to 100 bullets in a minute. and yet i still get being told they're not assault weapons. well, what the bloody hell are they? >> i grew up on a farm in the world surrounded by guns. you have a deer rifle, which may be a .30-06. you don't take an ar-15 out deer hunting. if you can't hit a target with ten rounds, then, you know, better go back to the target practice. >> it's not hunting. it's not sport. what are you left with? >> well, it's fun. frankly, it truly is. >> is fun a good enough excuse? >> i think the cost is so enormous. it's also fun to drive at 110 miles per hour down the road. but for a lot of good reasons, we don't allow that. i think for the same reason, we need to restrict assault weapons. >> let's turn briefly if we could to the situation in algeria, the terrorist situation as panetta has called it tonight.
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what do we know about this? we know that three americans may be among the hostages, i think? >> we know very little about this. there are a lot of very confusing reports coming from algeria, coming from foreign capitals, from mauritania. it's a little bit mysterious because there is a natural business line of al qaeda affiliates there to kidnap foreigners, especially europeans. and it's very profitable. one element of that is terrorism. another is that -- this is like somali piracy. you can get real ransoms. in this case, they're in this southern algeria and gas facility. they haven't been able to take those hostages away. at the end of the day, i think they're going to end up getting killed. unfortunately, some of those hostages may as well. but i can't help wondering if this wasn't a failed attempt to kidnap hostages and ransom them. >> we'll find out i guess over the next few days. nick, as always, great to talk to you. thank you for coming in. >> good to be here, first. -- piers. >> nick kristof.
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al roker may be the busiest day on tv. he is co-host of the today show. also got his own show on the weather channel. he is a best-selling author. his new book, "never going back: winning the weight loss battle for good." welcome. >> i'm tweeting right now, tweeting that i'm on your program right now as we speak. how are you? >> i'm good thank you. how are you? >> i'm feeling great. >> other than wasting away. we'll come to your decrepit physical condition. >> barely holding on. >> i saw a recent thing you did in which you went to a range and fired some of these assault weapons and so on. what is your take on what was a very momentous day today for president obama and his administration, and i think for america? >> well, look. i think this is a really polarizing issue. there are people who, you know -- i think most americans
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are pretty reasonable out there about this, whether you're in the nra or not, that there is some sort of limit. can you have a tank? i mean, i'd like to have a tank. i think that would be kind of fun. >> we would all love to have a tank. >> i'd like to have a locomotive too, but i don't have one. >> do you believe the constitution gives you the right to have a tank? >> well, i think the constitution -- when the founding fathers wrote the constitution, i don't think they envisioned, you know, rapid-fire weapons or anything like that. much like, you know, when they wrote certain things in the bible. they didn't know anything else. so it was of the time. so i think this is something that is open to interpretation. >> how do you get through the debate when i have two conservatives on there who basically didn't agree with a single one of the president's proposals today, not one. they couldn't find any common ground in anything. >> but those are just two people. i think, you know, there are people, whether they are
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conservative or republican or liberal or democrat that i think there is a lot of common ground. i think most americans are pretty reasonable and believe that, you know, that there is nothing wrong with a background check. i think -- poll after poll shows that. look, most nra members believe that. so, you know, i think, you know, look, you can find fringes on either -- extremes on either end of the spectrum. ban everything, or ban nothing. but there is a common ground that i think most americans believe exists. >> i hope you're right. i hope we get to that. i think something has to be done. turning another story, lance armstrong, you met him once. >> yeah. >> did you get to know him? >> he basically, you know, asked me what the weather was going to be, and then kept moving. >> did you say for you, mate, pretty stormy. >> who knew? this was before all that stuff was happening. >> what do you think of it? >> well, look -- >> you're a sports fan.
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>> hey, look, not really. but the thing is, this guy is really -- he suffered a lot. he has also let down a lot of people. but he has done a lot of good. it's a really difficult issue, you know. >> see, my problem is i think sport for people, particularly in america, and britain is the same. people feel such great passion for it. >> sure. >> it's escapism, and it's about having heroes. >> yep. >> and it's about having people who excel in what they do. you would all love to be a professional sports star because it sounds so impossibly glamorous. yet it is intense. and when they're exposed as cheats, every single time something inside me dies. i watched ben johnson win that 100 meters that time. i loved that for a day. and then it was all crushed. my favorite sport is cricket. i found a huge game turned out to be rigged, and it killed me. and then i heard about lance armstrong, and i thought not him as well.
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so he was guilty. he did cheat the whole time. nothing is right about that. >> right. and look, a lot of people say everybody in that sport is doing that. i don't know. i don't bike. i'm not going to ever run the tour de france. but you feel badly that there is so much pressure that everybody feels if the other guy is doing it, i have to do it. >> i hate it for my children. i have three teenage poise. -- boys. all play sport, love sport, very competitive. i don't want them thinking the way to win is cheating. >> but you know what? i don't think they see that. i don't think our kids do. i think they see what we want, what we put out. if as a parent you espouse fair play and honesty, in not just sport, but your life, i think that's what they see. you know, look, i think lance armstrong and all those, any big sports person, sure they like to look at, they like to go see.
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but i think at the end of the day, they care more about what you think and what you do than what a lance armstrong or a barry bonds does. >> that may be true. and talking of evil blood sports and big competition, let's turn to your war with gma. they've been kicking your butt for a while. you're fighting back at the moment. joking apart, i'm a great fan of matt's. i saw you launch a spirited defense of matt lauer. i thought quite rightly. he remains a brilliant broadcaster. he is taking a pummelling. in your broughtal morning battles. >> what sells more papers or more clicks online than the negative? that's -- they have to -- look, there is a lot of schadenfreude. for 17 years, they had the right, we were number one. now we're not. okay. fair. good on gma. the fact of the matter is i've known matt lauer since 1990. i've worked with him in local
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news. and he is a terrific human being. he is a great person. he had nothing to do with anything that happened on our show. was it a great thing that anne left? no. we were all heartbroken about it. but the fact of the matter is she is still at nbc news, contrary to what people are reading about her coming over here. she is still at nbc news. she has a unit, a whole unit to do the stories that she does best. so, you know, at the end of the day, it's not the worst thing to get a kick in the slats. >> i was going to ask you that. you've been there a long time. do you feel it's got you all energized again? >> look, we were always energized. but we feel like this is what we do. we're not changing what we do. we're just going to work at it that much harder. and, you know, look. the good news is the numbers are coming back. and look, it's great -- it's great fun when you have competition. and now we've got a good
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competitor in gma. we'll continue to have a good competition. we're glad that robin roberts is feeling better, is doing great, is healthy, because, you know, it's always -- it's always good to compete against the best. >> well, i enjoyed both of your shows which is a diplomatic way of looking at it. and i thoroughly feel the -- enjoy the competition there. but i do feel for matt. he is worthy of a lot better. >> he is a terrific guy. he is a loyal friend. and he does -- people don't realize what he does and what anne and savannah and everybody before that, it's not easy to do that job because you have to be part tom brokaw, part regis philbin, part jay leno, part martha stewart. >> and you get no sleep, and you have to wake up to al roker. it's a pretty rough gig. >> it's bad! >> let's take a break and come back and talk about how you managed to lose 106 pounds. it's the ever disappearing al roker. >> that's right. i'm going to vanish right here. t of labor and it's a lot of love.
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[ male announcer ] glucerna hunger smart. science and evidence based drug and alcohol treatment center. where your addiction stops and your new life begins. call now. back now with al. i'm going to switch to your favorite catch phrase. what's happening to the woods in the back of your neck? because your neck, it's a belabored segue. >> you're getting there. >> your neck is disappearing like the rest of you. you've lost an unfees able amount of weight. 350 pounds down to fighting wait now? >> 205.
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>> do you feel better? >> stgs work -- it's work. no question about it. 11 years ago, i had a gastric bypass. my dad was dying of lung cancer. he said, listen, we both know i'm not going to be here for my grandchildren. you have to get healthy. you need to swear to me you are going to lose weight and i did. i had a bypass about four months after he died, lost the weight, kept it off for eight years. then my mom got sick. people think if you have a gastric bypass you have cheated taken the easy way out and b, that's it. you're done. you can eat through a bypass. people have done it. carney wilson. one of the most famous. i gained 40 pounds of that weight back. i thought, i lost my mom, lost my dad. i had no control over that. i am not going to lose this battle as well. i changed the way i ate. i changed the way i worked out. for almost five years, i've been between 200 and 205. >> what are the key simple
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things that anybody that is overweight can do? you can have all the diets and things in the world, but until your head is right, what are the things that are most effective? >> "a," in this country, we need to cut back on portions. huge portions. i held on to my mom's house. i have a couple of nieces and nephews living there. i was looking at some dishes down in the basement and the plates were smaller then. we have huge plates and huge portions. we are eating too much. the exercise is one of the keys. food is important. you have got to exercise. we tend to -- until i really made a commitment. the first thing i would cancel in my day was my work-out. any excuse to cancel the work-out. you can't do it. you have to -- there's no magic bullet. less food, more exercise. >> it's a crazy idea.
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what it is above all else is mental discipline. it is about having the discipline to do it when there are so many ways you can do -- just cheat. >> i hate it. i started training and started running. i ended up running the new york city marathon. in the nine months i trained, never once did i get the runner's high. there is no runner's high. have you ever seen a happy runner? >> let me tell you about this high from work-out. i had a work-out this week with bear bearian of a trainer called mark. he thought i needed a beasting. he beasted me for about an hour. i was so sick after that. i had to sit down in the middle of the freezing cold pavement and be fed emergency gatorade to revive me. >> they have emergency gatorade? >> he went and got one. >> as i lay there sweating and nearly vomiting. i thought, what the hell am i doing? i am 47 years old.
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this is about as good as it is ever going to get. i am lying in the middle of a new york city street. slurping gatorade to stay alive, in an effort to keep fit. >> that's a regular saturday night for your executive producer. >> can we mention the elephant in the room? >> okay. >> the white house incidents. what would be the most revolting story on national television? >> i am sure there is worse but here is the deal. i can give you five. >> we don't have time. >> there is the white house. the fact of the matter is, i was in the press room. >> can you point the exact room you were in? >> i was in the press room. the fact is, a gastric bypass is a serious surgery. i won't recommend it to people. 1 in 200 people die. for the rest of your life, you have to take multivitamins. i was a month out of having the surgery in 2002. if you eat the wrong things, you are going to have gastric problems. that was the point of it. as i say, look, the title of the book is, never going back. i have been back to the white
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house and never had a problem again. >> i saw you there. if i would have known, i would have given you a very wide berth. >> there you go. >> can we have you read the tease to the break? it's just there. >> it's over there. but my camera is there. we'll be right back. but here's what's happening in your neck of the woods. it's on the back on my neck. look at that! ♪ ♪ ♪ [ male announcer ] introducing the all-new cadillac xts... another big night on the town, eh? ...and the return of life lived large. ♪ so if ydead battery,t tire, need a tow or lock your keys in the car, geico's emergency roadside assistance is there 24/7.
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